Columbia Ink: Fall 2015

December 16, 2015

The Art of Inequality: Architecture, Housing, and Real Estate— A Provisional Report
By Reinhold Martin, Jacob Moore, and Susanne Schindler
Buell Center

Inequality in America brings to mind economic measures relating to income and wealth. A new book from Columbia’s Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture argues that this kind of economic inequality is inseparable from social disparities of other kinds—particularly in housing. Drawing upon history, geography, architecture and design, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation Professor Reinhold Martin and adjunct associate research scholars Jacob Moore (CC’06, ARCH’12) and Susanne Schindler (CC’92) explore sustained disparities in the United States and the premise that “real estate development is—by its very structure—unequal.”

 

Moral Agents: Eight Twentieth-Century American Writers
By Edward Mendelson
New York Review Books

Fusing biography and criticism, Mendelson in his latest book considers eight distinctive writers who transformed American literature in the 20th century, including Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, W.H. Auden and Lionel Trilling. Drawing on newly published letters and diaries, Mendelson, the Lionel Trilling Professor in the Humanities, explores the responses of these very public figures to major historical events—among them the rise and fall of fascism, the cold war, the struggles for civil rights and against the Vietnam War, and the sexual revolution. He shows how intensely personal concerns relating to childhood, religion, status, sex and money largely shaped their views.

 

Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy: An Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity
By Joseph E. Stiglitz
W. W. Norton & Company

Nobel laureate and University Professor Stiglitz believes it’s time to curb the runaway flow of wealth to the top 1 percent, restore security and opportunity for the middle class and foster stronger growth rooted in broadly shared prosperity. In his latest book he argues that inequality is a choice, and that even though the United States bills itself as the land of opportunity, the facts tell a different story. Addressing economists who argue that today’s bleak economic conditions are the inevitable consequences of market outcomes, globalization and technological progress, Stiglitz shows that American inequality is the result of misguided structural rules that actually constrict economic growth.

 

Bernard E. Harcourt Exposed Desire, Disobedience in the Digital Age Book Cover

Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age
By Bernard Harcourt
Harvard University Press

Bernard Harcourt, the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, guides readers through today’s digital landscape in which retailers, Internet giants, intelligence agencies and social media engage in massive data mining to monitor, profile and shape our desires. He says we are building an “expository society” defined by unprecedented levels of exhibition, watching and influence that is reconfiguring our political relations and reshaping our notions of the individual. Harcourt believes we must do whatever we can to resist such data mining if we want to maintain privacy and anonymity. Such resistance, he believes, can range from aggressive encryption of personal information to leaking government secrets.

 

The Disaster Profiteers: How Natural Disasters Make the Rich Richer and the Poor Even Poorer
By John C. Mutter
St. Martin’s Press

Mutter, professor of earth and environmental sciences, argues in this book that what happens after natural disasters is often more destructive than the disasters themselves. When no one is looking, they become a means by which the elite prosper at the expense of the poor. His examples include Myanmar, where the military junta grabbed land destroyed by Cyclone Nargis, and New Orleans, where gentrification post-Hurricane Katrina made it impossible for many of the city’s poorest, mostly black residents from returning. As the specter of more frequent and destructive natural disasters looms, Mutter seeks to start a conversation about what we can do now to make a safer, more just world.

 

Accounts and Drawings from Underground: The East Rand Proprietary Mines Cash Book, 1906
By Rosalind C. Morris and William Kentridge
Seagull Books

Anthropology Professor Rosalind C. Morris teams up with renowned contemporary artist William Kentridge to transform the East Rand Proprietary Mines Cash Book from 1906 into something wholly new. Reading down and across the columns of pages, Morris draws together the stories of migrant laborers and charts the flows of capital and desire, overwriting the text of the original book to create a palpable sense of the world that gold mining created. Kentridge contributes 40 landscape drawings that respond to the temporary terrain that mining created and stand as a epitaph to a history of disappearances.

 

Friend & Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both
By Adam Galinksy and Maurice Schweitzer
Crown Business

Galinsky, the Vikram S. Pandit Professor of Busi- ness, and Schweitzer, a professor at the Uni- versity of Pennsylvania, have written a guide for navigating the social and professional worlds by learning when to cooperate, when to compete— and how to be better at both. Drawing on original research and real-world examples, they offer ad- vice on how to gain power and keep it, build and repair trust, diffuse workplace conflict and bias, and succeed in negotiations. They offer surprising answers to perplexing questions such as whether too much talent can undermine success. Ulti- mately, they seek to answer the eternal question, what does it take to succeed?

 

Failure: Why Science Is So Successful
By Stuart Firestein
Oxford University Press

In his sequel to Ignorance, Firestein, a professor of biological sciences, shows that modern science involves the often bumbling search for understanding in uncharted territories, full of wrong turns, false findings and the occasional remarkable success—and that this is a good thing! Citing both historical and contemporary examples, Firestein strips away the distorted view of science as a rule-based, methodical system for accumulating facts and offers a rare, inside glimpse of the messy realities of the scientific process. An insider’s view of how science is actually carried out, this book is aimed at anyone with an interest in science, from aspiring scientists to curious general readers.